Uganda has the second youngest population in the whole world (CIA Fact Book, 2015), and the world’s largest percentage of young people under 30 – 78% – according to the 2012 State of Uganda population report by the UN Population Fund. While this uncharacteristically young population might be a good thing for some economies, it has been a double edged sword in Uganda’s case where 64 per cent of those aged 18-30 are actually unemployed.
Yet, despite being one of the poorest countries in the world, or perhaps because of it, the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Index ironically ranks Uganda as the most entrepreneurial country in the world with the average entrepreneur in Uganda aged between 18-34 years of age. Needless to say, GEM suggests that most of these businesses are started out of desperation and necessity. Indeed, business discontinuation among youth-led business in Uganda is very high, with 62% citing among other reasons the entrepreneurial skills gap as the main reasons for business closure.
It is obvious therefore, that supporting these young entrepreneurs with enterprise skills before they leave school, is the only way for Uganda to achieve a sustainable economic growth.
Our mission is to combat youth unemployment by generating and supporting the most impressive pool of student entrepreneurs in Uganda. Enterprise is more than the creation of entrepreneurs, it is about a can-do and positive attitude and equipping people with the confidence to develop a career and their vocational interests. NASE will therefore support the development of a wide range of work and professional skills and capabilities, including resilience, risk taking, creativity and innovation, as well as a self-belief that starting a business is a viable career choice and one of the most exciting and challenging things a person will ever do.
Given Uganda’s demographics, we are convinced that this is best delivered in schools, colleges and universities. We are on a mission therefore, to build a national movement of enterprising students by launching, nurturing and supporting Enterprise Societies in ALL Secondary Schools, Colleges and Universities across the country. NASE will also act as the link between Ugandan and international academic institutions such as Kingston University, London – the number one University for graduate start-ups in the UK, for the last 5 years in a row – with a view of facilitating exchanges of best practices in enterprise education.